Kinect isnt 360s mass-market saviour

Market analyst DFC Intelligence has warned that Kinect is unlikely to help Xbox 360 break into the mass market in the way in which Microsoft hopes, according to the company’s latest report.

The Xbox 360 clearly needs to diversify beyond the core first-person shooter audience,” it reads. Microsoft is putting almost all its eggs into the Kinect as a way to appeal to the casual consumer and expand its user base. Of course, Microsoft has been trying to do this for some time. Unfortunately, based on what we have seen, DFC continues to feel that Microsoft is going to struggle to expand beyond its core audience.

There are numerous problems with this approach, but the biggest problem is Microsoft, at its core, is simply not an entertainment company. Almost every time Microsoft has tried to emulate successful entertainment products they have failed.

In its business software, Microsoft has been successful in analyzing what works for users of other products and incrementally incorporating those features into Microsoft products. The problem is developing hit entertainment products simply does not follow that model.

Take for example the Viva Piata product, developed by Rare and released in November 2006 to compete with the release of the Wii and PlayStation 3. Viva Piata followed along the lines of Nintendo’s wildly successful Pokemon franchise, with a little Animal Crossing thrown in. Like Pokemon, Viva Piata had its own television series designed to drive kids to the game and vice versa.

"Microsoft even worked with 4Kids Entertainment to produce the show. 4Kids was the producer behind Pokemon. Viva Piata was a well reviewed title, but has gone down as an obscure footnote in the game industry. It clearly did nothing to establish the Xbox 360 with the core Nintendo audience.”

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